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I have often taught you and others that it is not a matter of whether you trust God, but rather whether God can trust you. The degree to which God can trust you is the degree to which He will show you not His power, but rather His softness, patience, compassion, love and the truth that God can be hurt by rejection and disobedience.

Miraculous power that a man or a woman can be trusted with is merely the edge of the circle of privacy that God has built around His sanctuary. To Abraham, or rather concerning Abraham, God asked this question, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”[1] God trusted Abraham enough to reveal to Abraham what His plans were concerning Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham bargained with God, saying, “Will You sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?”[2] And we have the famous bargaining session of Abraham with God, with Abraham stopping too soon at ten, not realising that with men, there may only be one righteous man in a whole city.

A lesson to learn from Abraham: when God announces to you His plans to sweep away the wicked because of their sin, have no doubt that God would also sweep the righteous away, but rather, enquire of God what His plans of deliverance for the righteous are, for indeed God had a plan for the deliverance of Lot even before Abraham began his bargaining.

Two men who are probably better men than any of us were trusted with the miraculous power of God. Elijah, who when he was afraid and angry, called fire down from Heaven and killed 100 men.[3] And Elisha, who when taunted by youths for being bald, called curses down on them so that the bears mauled the youths.[4] Moses alone, of the men of true power of the Old Testament, never used the power that was his to use against those who opposed him, but rather, he let God decide the fate of Korah and his followers. From amongst the kings of Israel who were not gifted with miraculous power but temporal power of military, financial, political and intellectual, not one of them succeeded in not succumbing to the power entrusted to them, not even David.

In this light then, what sort of a man can be trusted with full miraculous power and temporal power except Jesus Christ the Man? Satan’s temptation of the Lord to change stones to bread was to tempt Him to use His miraculous powers to relieve Himself of His temporal suffering. The temptation to use miraculous powers to relieve ourselves of the sufferings that we must undergo for the sake of obeying God, is the greatest temptation a man needs to overcome.

It is not a temptation ordinary men and miraculously powerless men would face. Indeed, when they succumb to the temptations of the flesh without power, they have not qualified to be entrusted with miraculous power. Those, who seek the power of God without understanding what a temptation it is to a man, are always sorely disappointed when they find that for all their sacrifices they receive no power.

It is a basic fact that no one would trust you who do not listen to instructions in the first place. And if you do not pass the initial tests of due diligence and the requisites of character, you will not be trusted further with anything. It is to be noted that even if you give up fields, father, mother, brothers, sisters, wife, sons, daughters and houses for the sake of Jesus and His gospel, all you get back is persecution and a 100-fold of what you gave up, and in the age to come you get eternal life,[5] whereas eternal life according to Jesus begins now.[6] Eternal life as Jesus defined it is: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” Notice that for all the sacrifices of Mark 10:29, a disciple does not get miraculous power, just more temporal blessings to keep them happy until the next age.

Remember that the power of God will always deliver those who trust in Him, but is only delivered by those whom He trusts. God trusted Jesus Christ impeccably. He trusted Him to finish the work even if He forsook Him at the ninth hour on the cross. If God trusts Him that much, then are we not insulting God if we do not trust Jesus, and if we do not trust Jesus, how can God trust us? When I speak of trusting Jesus, I am not speaking of trusting as a child would trust, for the trust of a child is blind, blinded by love. No, the trust of the mature must be with the eyes of the mature. Eyes well seasoned with failures and successes. Eyes that are cynical with wisdom and not with disbelief. Eyes that have seen the miracles of God deliver them again and again, and yet if God was to forsake them at the ninth hour, it was fine with them, for into His hands they would commit their spirit. That is what Jesus showed us of what God expects from the Man who is truly His image.

Imagine the temptations of these words: “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! Come down from the cross, if You are the Son of God!”[7] and, “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him.”[8] At the early hours on the cross, such cries were taunts that though tempting, were not really that tempting, for after all, God was still with Him. But you and I know that we have been blessed with memory to remember what was said about us and against us, so that at the ninth hour, after Jesus said, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”[9] those taunts would have been the greatest source of temptation.

Now see the Lord at the ninth hour and God has forsaken Him. From God, it would appear that there is no vindication for His sacrifice, yet at the same time, He is God and in Him was still the power to come off that cross and show those who taunted Him as well as His disciples John and Mary and the other women, that He is indeed who He said He is. You see, if God had not forsaken Him, then Jesus Christ the Man would not have faced the greatest temptation of all, a temptation so great that not even the devil could do it. For the greatest temptation a man can face is to take the full power of God that he is entrusted with and become Satan, who is one who does not have in mind the things of God but of man.

How often have you been tempted and succumbed to roar against the injustices that you face when people slander you, accuse you, persecute you and so on, when you are probably guilty of at least half of what they accuse you of? I know I have. And in those times, if you had the power to do so, wouldn’t you have just wanted to do a display of something to show them that you are right and they are wrong? Fortunately, none of us have full power entrusted to us, otherwise imagine the harm we would do. Because we fail such temptations, Jesus had to experience it and overcome it.

If you thought Jesus never experienced the temptation to come off that cross after the Father forsook Him because He is the Son of God who obeys the Father all the time, then you have denied that Jesus Christ is the Son of Man who He says He is, and you have disbelieved Him.

You see, when they asked Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”[10] Jesus did not only answer their question, saying, “I am,” that is, “I am the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One,” but added, “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.”[11] But in that last hour, forsaken by God, Jesus overcame the greatest temptation that a Son of Man could face, a Man with the full power of God to vindicate Himself, because after all, God had forsaken Him despite His obedience. You see, if Jesus had come off that cross, He would have proved before all His enemies and His disciples that He is the Messiah, the Son of God, but He would have destroyed forever God’s plan, God’s plan that salvation should come to man by the grace of God through faith. If Jesus succumbed, He would still be able to bless those who believed Him, but He would have destroyed His Father’s plans and become Himself Satan, a man who had not in mind the things of God but of man.

But when He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit,”[12] He truly became the Author of our salvation, for He committed His own salvation to the grace of God by faith. He became the first Fruit of God’s salvation through faith, for Jesus Himself now committed His spirit into His Father’s keeping by faith and trusting in His faith. Why is this significant even for Jesus? Because God does not change and He has said, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion,”[13] and likewise, it also means that without it having been spoken, He will forsake whom He chooses to forsake. Jesus knows the Father better than all of creation does, and He knows fully why God who has compassion on whom He will have compassion, has also received the right to forsake whom He chooses to forsake. As such, if God has forsaken Him, Jesus knows that He is displaying the unspoken side of His Father, “I will forsake whom I choose to forsake, and I will withhold mercy from whom I choose to withhold mercy.”

Now all men have no power to change God’s destiny for them, or to change their present situation instantly, only the man who has the full power of God does. Jesus did in the darkness of the last hour on the cross, and with those taunts rattling in His mind, He fought the greatest battle man has ever fought with Satan, the man who does not have in mind the things of God. Those taunts were not of God, for if Jesus displayed full power on the cross, salvation would not be by faith through the grace of God, but by knowledge of the power of God. The knowledge of the full power of God causes no salvation, only judgment, for to those who have been given much, much is demanded. Had Jesus come off that cross in that last hour, then judgment for all men had come, and there would be no man, not even Jesus Christ, who would not and has not become Satan, one who does not have in mind the things of God but of man.

Had Jesus failed that test, there would be no church age. There would be no one saved through faith in Him, but all would be subject to judgment only, for it would have proved that God could not trust man to be truly the fullness of His image, and man cannot be the fullness of the image of God without having the full power of God at his disposal as God does. And if man cannot ever be the image of God that God made him to be, then Satan the devil has proved himself correct and God to be wrong in making man and then killing to cover his nakedness exposed by sin. Indeed, if Jesus had come off that cross to vindicate Himself because God had forsaken Him, then Satan the devil could rightly raise himself above God, for after all he is the model of perfection. God was no longer perfect if Jesus came off that cross, for the image of God at full power was imperfect. Now, the only one left would be the model of perfection himself who was perfect.

The momentous battle within Jesus Himself, the Man at full power, not to take up His right of vindication but to lay it in trust to God’s grace by faith, flung open forever the door of salvation for all men who would follow Him.

Hebrew 2:10 says that He is the Author of our salvation, and indeed He is because He laid down the full power of God as a Man to trust in God’s grace to save Him. Because of this, all who believe in Him, all who listen to Him, all who practise His word, have the right to be just like Him.

Thus, the privilege of being a man at full power is the proof that Jesus Christ is truly the Author of salvation of all men because He overcame the temptation of full power as a Man and not as God. The failure to identify with Jesus, the righteous Man at full power on the cross forsaken by God, is what prevents any of us to be trusted with full power. Trust is not proven by word but by action. So, it should be no wonder that you are faced with little trials of persecution to see how you would pray. Would you call down fire from Heaven to consume your enemies or curses on those who taunt you? If you do, you belong to the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant.

However, through your persecutions you will receive discipline to be trusted with full power, so that from any of us God can raise up witnesses who can shut up the skies while they are prophesying, change water to blood, strike and consume their enemies with fire from their mouths, and strike the cities with plagues as often as they wish. Any of us can be those witnesses of the power in Revelation 11 if you have learned to submit to God your spirit like Jesus, and when the time comes, to allow the Beast from the Abyss to attack you and overpower you and kill you.

It is not those who are prepared to die for God who are trusted with full power. No, it is those who are prepared not to defend themselves and vindicate themselves by their own power, who are trusted with the all of God. And Jesus Christ the Man did just that as a Man full of the power of God and yet did not vindicate Himself before man or God.

You have been given a taste of power beginning with God’s power delivering you when you prayed and a little bit more as you stretched out your hand, and as persecution came, you were tempted to vindicate yourself with the available power you had, like all men, but the Man of men did not. That is the attitude we must learn and acquire and have before full power is given, or else it will destroy us. For any of us who fall into the temptation of vindicating ourselves when we have full power, have done what Jesus did not do to bring salvation through faith in God, and as such, have dropped ourselves out of Christ. And at what level did we drop out of Christ? Full power… what sacrifice then is left for us?

No, our juvenile attitudes have correctly exposed us. We have not been fit for full power because we had no understanding of the true Man who is Jesus Christ and what He overcame.

Let him who has ears hear. Amen.


 

[1] Genesis 18:17

[2] Genesis 18:23-24

[3] 2 Kings 1:10,12

[4] 2 Kings 2:23-24

[5] Mark 10:29-30

[6] John 17:3

[7] Matthew 27:40

[8] Matthew 27:42

[9] Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34

[10] Mark 14:61

[11] Mark 14:62

[12] Luke 23:46

[13] Exodus 33:19

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